Baby Massage and the Healing Power of Touch
“In the weeks and months following birth, parents can use the flowing rhythms of the art of baby massage to communicate love and strength to their infants.”
Baby massage is a beautiful bonding experience shared between parent and child and has the ability to deeply relax your baby. When a baby receives kind, loving touch from the minute they are born they understand that they are safe. Perhaps not cognitively at first, but on a primal level they know that their caregivers are there to offer safety, support and a place of refuge.
An ancient pediatric Ayurvedic text ‘The Kashyapa Samhita’ states that “massage is important for a baby’s digestion, weight gain, neuromuscular development and central nervous system.”
I was lucky to be well bonded with Sofia through breastfeeding, and so it was my husband Luke who gave Sofia daily massages. He used a natural baby massage oil (we love the Weleda brand) as it is so important to ensure our precious bubs are not being exposed to toxic chemicals.
I want to point out that it isn’t so much about perfecting a technique or “getting things right” when it comes to baby massage. The intention behind the massage, being present and the bonding experience is much more important.
Here are some tips that work well for us:
1. Luke always asked permission to touch Sofia before beginning the massage. Although she didn’t understand what he was asking on a cognitive level, he still asked. We want her to know that her body is her own and that she is allowed to say “no”. You will usually know whether your baby is in the mood for a massage. For example, if your baby is overtired, agitated and crying it probably isn’t the best time to give a massage.
2. We always gave her a massage at the end of the day, after a warm bath. We played relaxing music and made sure the room was warm and the lights were dim.
3. Applying a light touch is best, as is using gentle, upwards sweeping movements, starting from the feet, then moving up towards the legs and groin, up the chest and then down the arms.
4. Circling your fingers gently, in a clockwise motion on the tummy helps with elimination and digestion. Avoid doing this if your bub’s tummy or bowel feels overly full or hard.
5. If your baby is still enjoying their massage, you can turn them onto their tummies and provide long strokes from head to feet help to relax your baby even further.
Luke and I absolutely loved providing the gift of baby massage to Sofia and to this day Sofia loves touch and she is certainly one very happy and chilled Bubba.
I hope you got something out of the blog post and I hope you get to share the gift of baby massage with your gorgeous bub.
Pictured below: A very happy Sofia receiving her nightly massage.